The Reedsy folks have put together a post on novel lengths. Yes, that's supposed to be plural. If you don't already know, lemme tell ya: Different genres generally have different ranges of word count. Books for different ages have different ranges of word count. Even different publishers can have different ranges of word count they prefer to see.
As always, you need to check a publisher's or agent's
guidelines before submitting the book. Better yet, have a word count
range in mind -- not before you write or as you write, but certainly as
This Reedsy post covers most, if not all, of the bases,
including the fact that there will always be exceptions. Also including
the fact that you're heading for heartbreak if you count on being one of those exceptions.
for my title, I asked an agent once how long my fantasy novel needed to
be, and he said, "How long is a piece of string?" The answer supposedly
being, "How long does it need to be?" The appropriate answers,
though, might have been, "How long does a publisher want it before
they'll look at it?" or "How long does a reader looking for your sort of
'Cause, look: Maybe you write for your own pleasure
or artistic expression, but once you step into the marketplace, you're
in somebody else's sandbox. You write for you; you sell for the buyer.
If that irritates or sullies you, I'm sorry. Either accept and deal with
that or you might as well go all Emily Dickinson and fill a desk drawer
with with your work. Even if you self-publish, if you want to sell your self-published book, you need for somebody to buy it, amIright?
Think of word count within or just outside expectations as a tool in your grasp, rather than as an imposition. If you choose to (or feel you must) ignore what the marketplace advises, try to realize you
choose to put that tool aside and to work without it. Maybe that will
alleviate some of your frustration, if you don't sell as quickly or in
as much volume as you expected.
Marian Allen, Author Lady
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